When a Progressive Community Fails to See Its Own Biases, Bullying and Bigotry Get a Pass

Livable Streets Community Struggles to See How its Approaches, Narratives Silence Voices on the Margins

When you have to navigate a landscape that wasn't created with you in mind. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
When you have to navigate a landscape that wasn't created with you in mind. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

“Speaking very sincerely here, I struggle to understand why a more inclusive definition of safe streets is so offensive [to you],” I tweeted to Josef Bray-Ali (@flyingpigeonla), former bike shop owner, cycling activist, and now controversial challenger to the incumbent for city council in a largely Latino but rapidly gentrifying district of L.A. in March of 2016.

We were twittering about the inclusion of policies and practices that promote equitable and just outcomes in transportation for lower-income communities of color and others on the margins and I was getting tired of the insults he was lobbing at myself and others who do that work.

I usually did my best to avoid engaging Bray-Ali directly.

Despite his claims of being a “trained anthropologist” and of harboring a genuine interest in learning from people whose views differed from his own, he was much more forgiving of the racists he was supposedly “provoking” in the dark cesspools of the internet than he was of me and the lower-income black and brown voices I try to amplify through my work at Streetsblog L.A.

In fact, he seemed to take particular delight in trolling me just to let me know he wasn’t going to listen to anything I wrote on the topic of socio-economic justice in urban planning. On one memorable occasion, after a lengthy back and forth he acknowledged he hadn’t even read the article I had written. He just had assumed, per usual, that he knew what I was talking about and that he wouldn’t like what I had to say. On other occasions, he would silence me, declaring that if I didn’t give him the answer he wanted – regardless of how problematic his terms always were – I could show myself out of the conversation. Which was usually about the time that the insults would begin in earnest and he would position himself as the only one who truly cared about the carnage seen in L.A.’s streets. (*Bray-Ali deleted his comment history on Streetsblog; links to SBLA articles are to cached text-only versions where his comments – under “ubrayj02” – remain intact.)

He was a self-righteous bully, plain and simple.

I had seen it in person back when I first met him in 2005; it was the reason I had stopped getting my bike tuned up at the co-op he founded, the reason I stopped attending the Spoken Art rides he organized, and one of the reasons I didn’t feel comfortable being part of the nascent bike community. And it was the reason I kept my distance from him now – the inability to listen, the entitlement, and the unwarranted aggression made him exhausting to engage. Even online.

But I had spotted him twitter-trolling others working on equity/justice – spouting his usual complaint that equity was a distraction and that he had heard enough about the need to be inclusive – and I thought it was important for someone to check him for once.

Predictably, the conversation quickly went nowhere. He accused equity proponents of running a “racket” and stalling and burdening projects unnecessarily. He labeled the consideration of historical injustices and racial disparities a guilt trip. Several times. And, as always, he kept demanding I answer his questions on his terms, no matter how much I insisted that was impossible because his terms were too narrow and too explicitly exclusionary.

So I resorted to the sincere query that I’ve made to him on several occasions, namely: Help me understand why consideration of the needs of the most vulnerable among us – particularly lower-income black and brown communities – is so offensive to you?

I had first asked a form of that question in a Facebook post in 2015 – right around the time that Bray-Ali was ”tracking” and “learning from” racists in a voat forum called “v/N*ggers,” incidentally. I asked it because he and others in the Facebook group, Figueroa for All, were highly critical of the idea that racial profiling and the death of black men at the hands of law enforcement during traffic stops be a consideration in the implementation of Vision Zero (the effort to reduce traffic-related deaths to zero).

When the LAPD was made a lead implementing agency for Vision Zero here in Los Angeles, it immediately rang alarm bells for advocates like myself, the LACBC’s Executive Director Tamika Butler, and others concerned about abuses of police power. The concerns we have go far beyond those sparked by the murders we’ve all seen unfold on our screens since the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson. For decades, the LAPD played an active role in the brutal repression of L.A.’s black and brown communities. Its relationship with those communities has yet to be healed in a meaningful way. As such, justice-oriented advocates want to know that, in the quest to save lives, Vision Zero will not amplify the abuses of force and power already being exercised against vulnerable communities of color.

If you’ll pardon my French: it is a super f*cking basic concept.

And yet upon learning that this topic had come up in a conversation Butler had with the councilmember for District 1, known to some as “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo for his abysmal record on complete streets, members of the Fig4All group were livid. Justice, they believed, would be used as an excuse to hold up Vision Zero implementation.

The more they objected, however, the more it became clear that they were upholding a position that many, like Bray-Ali, were already deeply invested in.

And when I weighed in to defend Butler and to argue that the acknowledgement of concerns about law enforcement was both important and separate from whatever agenda Cedillo had, Bray-Ali led the charge.

“How absolutely nit-pickingly myopic do you have to be to make *THIS* the issue you have with Vision Zero?” he demanded.

“Please, please, show me something to back that up other than, ‘Oh, I have concerns.’” he jeered. “…Why do we spend so much time coming up with new and stupid ways of hurting our own shared visions for this city?”

When I offered a lengthy discussion of the particular and historic vulnerability of black men, the challenge of tracking police harassment and violence, the importance of ensuring that the safety of some didn’t come at a high cost to others, and the idea that a vision that dismissed the struggles faced by people of color could not reasonably be considered “shared,” he called both Butler and I “concern trolls” and proclaimed,

“[It] Makes me want to quit doing anything in this city anymore. What’s next? No more advocating for clean parks? No more advocating against illegal dumping? No more advocating for effective safe schools? Law enforcement might have to get involved! Injustice! Go hang a shingle somewhere. ‘Concerns – 5 cents; Actual social justice and clean city? Impossible.’ Will this give us a bike lane? Will this give us more curb ramps? No. Will it be used as a red herring argument when livable streets issues pop up? Oh hell yes.”

Then, making sure that Butler did not escape explicit reprimand, he concluded, “Thanks again, LACBC! Can’t wait to be told to stop annoying Cedillo so you can continue to manufacture reasons not to do things.”

His raging at Butler online and later, in person at meetings to discuss the Figueroa bike lane, was particularly jarring.

Butler is a darker-skinned African American who identifies as gender-nonconforming/trans.

There is nowhere on earth where she is truly 100 percent safe.

Let me repeat that just so that is clear: there is absolutely nowhere on the face of this motherf*cking planet where she can take the safety and security of her person for granted.

Women have screamed at her and put their hands on her in restrooms because they thought she didn’t belong there. When she is pulled over by cops – something that happens all too often and for no legitimate reason – she has been treated as if she posed a threat, not just to officers but to her own white wife sitting in the passenger seat. The moments where she does not have to be cognizant of how others are responding to her presence are few and far between. And nowhere is this more true than in the public space.

Which means that when Bray-Ali called her a troll who was looking for excuses to thwart his agenda, he was essentially saying to her, I do not care about the challenges you face in accessing the public space. I do not care if efforts to ensure my physical safety cause you to feel even less safe or have the potential to cause you even more harm. Moreover, you and Sahra are terrible people for asking me to consider the vulnerabilities of similarly marginalized communities.

I’m going to be straight up with you here.

Yes, it is unsettling that Bray-Ali spent his time cybercavorting with basement-dwelling racists and their abhorrent fat-shaming, transphobic, and misogynist brethren.

But in many ways, I find the biases embedded in the statements made to Butler and myself far more disturbing.


Because they’re said out in the open. Without shame.

Because this is the platform on which he is running for office.

Because this is the platform by which he has been judged to be a champion of the livable streets community, regardless of how many times it was made clear that he saw no place for the addressing of race, class, or historical inequities in planning for a better Los Angeles.

And because he has yet to be truly checked about these biases by this community, his friends, or his supporters, Bray-Ali has been led to believe that as long as he stays out of “n*gger” forums, he is not problematic. So much so that he didn’t hesitate to come at me again several days after his sewer shenanigans blew up to suggest I was not as smart as he because I cared about kids like Jordan Edwards getting shot during traffic stops and to remind me that I am the real problem, that I seek the “non-implementation of street safety projects and a platform to discuss issues related to policing and institutional racism,” while he does the important work – “stick[ing] to my wheelhouse: trying to implement street safety projects.”


So you will forgive me if I am harboring a little rage at the moment.

Actually, that’s a lie.

It’s not a little rage.

I have been at DEFCON F.A.Y.A. for a week and a half now.

Not because Josef Bray-Ali is a troubling troglodyte. That is what it is. That’s his burden to bear. And he is, frankly, not my concern.

What is my concern is that Josef Bray-Ali is not outlier in this community.

He is not an aberration.

He is a product of this community and all that it represents. Most notably: how poorly it is able to examine and address its own implicit biases or acknowledge the extent to which it actively silences voices of color and others on the margins.

In fact, if this absurd episode has taught me anything about this community, it is that the divide between those who have the privilege of ignoring questions of access – access to power, validation, public spaces, safety, ears that can hear you, and eyes that can truly see you – and those who do not is so much deeper than even I had anticipated.

Which is saying a lot, considering that I recently had a well-respected white woman get up in my face after a project committee meeting and order me to “stop talking.” And considering that I am still regularly told that the issues I cover have nothing to do with livable streets. And considering that men of privilege constantly want to whitesplain transportation and housing to me, often by dismissing me outright, misrepresenting and misinterpreting my arguments, or cyberyelling me. And considering I wrote a whole screed about this divide after the Women’s March and men in the community immediately jumped into the comments to tell me not only how wrong-headed I was but how little I knew about white people and how to talk to them. And considering that some of the most obstinate and hostile obstacles to the inclusion of equity and justice in transportation are within my own Streetsblog network.

You get the idea.

Even with all that, I can honestly say I was genuinely not prepared to watch progressive people of privilege – including so many that claim to care about equity, justice, and inclusion – spend a week excusing away participation in “n*gger” chat rooms, engaging in lengthy and heated debates about whether putting the n-word in quotes made it more or less racist, proclaiming themselves to be oppressed minorities in need of bike lanes, pronouncing unsavory online habits as mistakes we all make, and being actively indifferent to any harm that might have been caused to those targeted by transphobic, fat-shaming, misogynist, racist bottom-feeders.

I did not expect to see so many cis/white/het folks actively silencing and pooh-poohing away the concerns raised by the very few folks of color and LGBTQ folks that were brave enough to dip their toes into the bonkers conversations going down on the Bike the Vote facebook page.

I did not expect to have so many people reach out to me personally to tell me that I was giving in to headlines – that they had known Josef for years; that he had always been nice to them; that they had never seen him be racist.

I did not expect to watch people parse out the “concern troll” Facebook conversation and tell me either that it was no big deal because Bray-Ali would have said the same thing to a white person or that Bray-Ali was right to argue the position he did and that I just didn’t get it. Sometimes they said both. Repeatedly.

I did not expect to see my own colleague wipe myself and Butler from this community’s map when he argued, without a hint of irony, that Bray-Ali had really only attacked anti-bike people and that he would still be voting for him because Bray-Ali was the candidate who would best support his “personal physical safety.” Or have said colleague interject on Twitter to minimize Bray-Ali’s problematic behavior while I was trying to have a nuanced discussion with someone about implicit biases.

I did not expect to see my own boss – whom I consider to be one of the best humans on the planet, but who also (along with my colleague) received several emails from me over the years about how Bray-Ali bullied and silenced myself and other voices of color – say that the first time he reflected on Bray-Ali’s behavior was when a reporter called him about Josef’s anthropological adventures.

And I did not expect to see the story in the L.A. Weekly, with an assist from my own colleague, whiff the race issue – allowing those of us who seek greater inclusion and a more just and accessible city to be called a “faction” and the divide between those who actively lobby for that more inclusive future and those that continue to see it as a “distraction” to be described as “healthy.”

People of color and other marginalized groups are not f*cking “factions;” they are not playing “identity politics.” Their lives are inherently more precarious because of how their race, class, status, gender identity, historical disenfranchisement, generational trauma, and denial of opportunity intersect with their ability to navigate a cis-gendered hetero-normative white-centered able-ist landscape that continues to exclude them by design.

And the fact that those groups are silenced or tokenized or bullied every time they try to challenge the existing narratives and biases that uphold that landscape is not “healthy” – it is seriously fucked up.

And it’s given me a lot of pause. So much so that I’ve actually said to a few people that I’m really not sure when I’ll be ready to look this community in the eye again.

But what do I know?

I am just a “concern troll.”

Because bike lanes.


I had lengthy Twitter exchanges regarding implicit biases and everything else over the last week that may help offer more explanation about what I am getting at when I am calling out biases. You can view some of those conversations here. Some of the threads branch off, so you may have to poke around. The lengthy Bike the Vote Facebook page conversations can be found here; poking around in the sub threads is the best way to get the full scope of arguments made. Last week, Tamika Butler gave a talk at the Vision Zero Cities conference in New York entitled, “I Am Not Your N*gger: Can Vision Zero Work in a Racist Society?,” where she spoke about her place in this saga, her relationship with the larger livable streets community, and the challenge of working within a community that only sees her when it suits their needs.

For those concerned about the publication of this story in an election season, please know that this story is not meant to influence or speak to that election in any way, shape, or form. As I’ve stated on my personal Twitter account several times, the decision about whom to vote for is between the voter and their god(s). We take no position as an organization, and I take no position here. My interest here is to address biases embedded in so much of the way that the livable streets community operates and so many of the approaches and narratives it holds dear. There was no way to do that without pointing out the way that someone who was so integral to shaping this community’s values went unchecked, and continues to go truly unchecked, for so long.

You can reach me on twitter, here.

  • Joe R.

    Links for the first point (racially segregated public housing):




    Second point (keeping blacks dependent on welfare):


    Not a link but my mom repeatedly mentioned her professors in college in the 1970s saying that whites supported the welfare state mainly because it provided a steady stream of jobs to college graduates.

    Third point (bike lanes in white neighborhoods and regular police harassment of cyclists):

    http://www.nycbikemaps.com/maps/nyc-bike-map/ (note the concentration of bike lanes in gentrified white areas and the absence of them in poor areas)



    Just two of many articles you can find on SB about heavy-handed enforcement against cyclists.

    And the fourth point (caving to labor union demands at the expense of everyone else):



    Larry Littlefield’s blog has many articles in which this topic plays a part:


    Originally my bullet points weren’t meant to point to specific instances but rather were general points which I assumed were fairly well-known by any reader with an interest in the subject. However, it’s not hard to use a search engine to find specific examples if that’s what you want.

  • calwatch

    In one of the more bizarre behaviors from a candidate that I have ever seen (maybe on par with student government races) Joe continues, on the official @joe4cd1 Twitter account, to bash Sahra basically making the argument that her objections are causing people to die. As a civil libertarian I really hate this line of argument, whether it be for bike lanes, immigration bans, or gun restrictions, and the fact that Joe is wasting time on Twitter instead of trying to salvage his campaign makes me question my donations to him.

  • Joe R.

    Exactly right. This post reads more like a drunken rant on a blog or political discussion forum than a real piece of journalism.

  • El Farto

    Cedillo or Joe, who is your choice?

  • The worst? Really, the worst?

    So, I surely made a mistake yesterday, I should have recused myself as editor. It’s sort of hard to make any sort of comment on the text of an article as an editor that includes a paragraph that’s critical of the person doing the editing. I’ve already sent an email to the staff that noted my mistake in the editing process.

    But why bring up Roger? By any metric SBSF is doing just fine by any metric that one could use : readership, comments, impact, budget, etc. Sorry you don’t like his work?

  • Movement Guy

    Folks seriously need to get back to the core mission of Livable Streets: Making city streets less automobile oriented and safer and better for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders. Find something easy and tangible to work on together and win — a new crosswalk in front of school, a new process at a community meeting that includes voices that have been marginalized in the past, a bike lane — anything. Work together and win. Make a concrete change on your own neighborhood streets. Right now we’re just destroying our own movement with in-fighting and recriminations that ultimately have nothing to do with the very specific mission of the very focused, specific niche that Streetsblog covers: Livable Streets. If we really need an enemy to fight, let’s not look at each other. Let’s look at just about any part of the enormous and overwhelming Auto-Sprawl Industrial Complex that fundamentally dominates American society. We’ll find plenty of worthy targets. We’re letting the real bad guys off the hook when we tear each other down.

  • Jesus Hermosillo

    I don’t know if this is true but, even if so, she’s a reporter whose duties in large part are about calling attention to what needs attention.

  • concern

    Confess our ignorance? Some of us took Introduction to Anthropology and a few other related courses. When you put in that kind of work, come back and talk to us about humility.

  • calwatch

    This is not a Roger thread, but past editors of SBSF have been professional writers or journalists. Although Roger has written for major publications as a freelancer, he is not a daily beat kind of guy. And how he treated Sahra on the Harbor Subdivision issue, and basically dismissed my concerns about Title VI when he and fellow rail advocates were pushing the idea of shoving 65 mph Metrolink trains down South Central sort of sealed the deal for me ( http://la.streetsblog.org/2015/05/22/planning-and-programming-committee-recommend-metro-board-take-next-steps-on-rail-to-river-atc/ if you need a reminder). I already said my piece to Roger, in person, at a Streetsblog event no less a few years ago (we need to hold more of them again – doesn’t the site need money????) but I much preferred Bryan Goebel, which is why he got a job at KQED producing work heard by millions in the Bay Area.

  • If I may, I don’t think her point was that Joe or I are horrible people, but it was used that even people she works with let her down in our response to the problem.

  • stvr

    I agree this place has gone super downhill, and I’ve been reading for about 8 years.

  • Jesus Hermosillo

    I want to believe this is a joke—but I’m not totally sure. (I have always understood the expression not as an insult to the Frenc, but to oneself, a kind of self-mockery.)

  • Matt


    That def seems the case with you whom she called out for not standing up to his bullying earlier, but considers one of the best humans on the planet. You quickly and correctly dropped your support for JBA when his past behavior started to come out several weeks ago.

    However, I’m not so sure the same applies to Mr. Linton. She went after him pretty hard and I don’t blame her. At a minimum you may have to have a team building day at Streetsblog LA in the near future. This is all indicative of how JBA has divided and damaged the complete streets movement locally.

  • sahra

    Just so it is clear, my point wasn’t that JBA has divided anything – he’s really kind of the least of it for me. it was that there is a lot of privilege in this otherwise progressive community and that lends itself to becoming an echo chamber. Folks aren’t used to being challenged; they’re used to having their positions affirmed and not having to think about themselves in relation to others, not having to consider who is being excluded, not having to consider how things they see as a universal good could unintentionally cause harm to or exclude others. Some folks, when they realize that, are interested in figuring out how to be more inclusive. Others double down, really, really hard. In between are a lot of folks who don’t know what to do and wrestle a lot with trying to figure out a way forward, but may not have the life experience/friends from different socio-economic backgrounds/empathy that helps them see where and how exclusion was happening.

    Everything chronicled here has largely been true for the past 5 years for me. The JBA debacle was unique in that it folks were forced to actually spell out their positions, explicitly and en masse. And, speaking more broadly about the larger community, a lot of folks that had paid a lot of lip service to equity and justice and otherwise really care about the issues affecting folks on the margins made clear that they don’t see their privilege, they don’t see how they uphold problematic and exclusionary structures, ideas, narratives, and they don’t see the harm that is done to PoC and others on the margins. To have literally hundreds of people announce their blindness to or willingness to overlook harm all at once… it’s a lot to digest.

    I’m hoping that Tamika’s talk gets posted soon. It helps make clear that this is a larger community-wide issue. Having just one lone voice raising these issues makes it look like I have some sort of vendetta or I’m an angry woman of color. I am neither.

  • Kohan

    Perhaps the most accurate few paragraphs written in this entire sad affair and one of the reasons why being a politician is a thankless, difficult endeavor. Even if you can excuse his abhorrent behavior JBA clearly lacks the skills to be an effective politician by not understanding that the concerns of the intersectionalists
    deserve to be addressed even if he thinks they’re bunk, just by matter of fact that they exist. The best politicians find ways to build coalitions, they don’t attempt to silence.

  • Joe R.

    I’m not sure I agree 100%. A politician, like anyone else, has a limited amount of time. That time is best spent dealing with issues which have the potential to help the most people. This occasionally means you might put things which affect relatively few people on the back burner. And it also means not wasting time on complaints which have no basis in fact. Now I’ll grant that Sahra’s concerns don’t necessarily fall into either of these categories. However, they’re not necessarily mainstream concerns, either. The biggest problem I see is from my point of view it’s not even clear exactly what Sahra wants in terms of specific policy. I read what was basically a 3,000+ word rant. At the end all I got out of it was very vague generalizations. If anyone wants an audience with a politician or a candidate, why not make a list of specific things you want them to address, in order of importance? Maybe in this case number one of the list might be how to prevent police from harassing minorities using new bike lanes over harmless but technical infractions.

    That said, there are also times when someone’s concerns don’t deserve to be addressed. One good example is when global warming deniers expect a seat at the table. Another example is rabid, foaming at the mouth bike haters who want cyclists to have licensing, insurance, and registration (and even then they’ll probably make further demands). Some groups either just make illogical demands, or they can never be appeased no matter what. These groups don’t even deserve the dignity of a response. A politician isn’t obligated to listen to everyone. The problem nowadays is that we’re so afraid of offending anyone we give bonafide nutcases a seat at the table. I can’t say how many times these people end up not only disrupting meetings to the point hardly anyone else can talk, but they get projects stopped which the majority wanted. Building coalitions is great, but those coalitions need to be made up of sensible people with logical demands. Sensible people know compromise is often needed to move ahead.

  • Matt

    You are just now questioning your donations to him? The guy is a complete scumbag in every sense of the word from tax evasion to blatant racism to being just a complete jerk in general.

  • Brigitte Driller

    Thank you for writing this

  • calwatch

    He was not a scumbag four months ago when I donated to him, and while his choices have been questionable at best since he is far from the standard I would place as a scumbag. I assumed the taxes were taken care of after his tax sale, nobody knew about the racist behavior (even if you searched under ubrayj02 prior to the LAist disclosure, mostly Streetsblog and personal blog posts popped up, and certainly not Voat), and Cedillo is just as much of a jerk through his dog and pony show community meetings and terrible engagement with his district.

  • Jesus Hermosillo

    Wait. This is the same thing JBA has said a few times (are you Joe Bray-Ali?). Also, who would feel like an expert on anything because they majored in anthro in college?

  • Nic_J

    Whats up with all the vitriol? I’m not sure how this conversation is representative of the theme of working towards the common good. I’m not sure what the goal or objective either side has in engaging in this polemic. It seems so inappropriate to have this tone of a conversation when it seems that the overall objective is to increase the availability and use of safer streets. Or perhaps the goal is to make sure that those who veer away from the previously established pathways to success know that they aren’t welcome to these exclusive conversations.

    “Results” are only as valuable as the indicators that are chosen. If one narrows the universe of “successful” outcomes then they are simply being disingenuous about their own agenda and what positive “results” are. Some people want to expand the indicators of success others want to shut down these historically unheard voices. This doesn’t mean that those voices are right or wrong, it just means that consideration needs to be given to them. Perhaps some of their additions aren’t valid (who knows until they have been properly vetted), but it is worth having a conversation about it and reach a resolution that all sides of the conversation can understand.

  • sahra

    I appreciate the effort to try to draw some conclusions but this just doesn’t work for many reasons. A few that come to mind: the “Pluralist” label glosses over who falls into that category (if we are to assume for a moment that this sort of categorization works) – and that would generally be folks with the privilege of not having to live at the intersection of various vectors of oppression or marginalization. It also glosses over power dynamics – which is really at the true core of this conversation. The folks with privilege have set the terms by which everything and everyone else is defined. But because of their privilege, there are huge gaps, shortcomings, outright failings, and unintentional (and often intentional) exclusions and harms that comes from that. And the idea that the “intersectionalists” don’t work with racists because that would be problematic is… well, if I wanted to avoid ever engaging and collaborating with racists, I’d pretty much have to sit at home in my closet for the rest of my life.

  • Good luck with that! We’ve seen his “concern” over the past 4 years and apart from when he sees he could lose his seat, nothing happens.

  • Joe L. can speak for himself, and I have tremendous respect for the way he’s produced quality stories this week given everything else, but I’ll say this : if you believe that Cedillo’s transportation and land use policies kill people…actually kill people…than yeah, it’s a no brainer to vote for Joe Bray-Ali, even after everything that’s happened. In my view, people shouldn’t be judged poorly if they come to that conclusion.

  • Shawn

    more fake news

  • User1

    “work harder to hold Cedillo accountable” Spoken like a truly naive person. Cedillo is a career big money big oil politician he doesnt give a crap about any pressure from any group including renters, small businesses and safe streets advocates he just goes where the money is. Cedillo is Trump.

  • sahra

    Is it, though? Because a major point of this story is that folks like JBA have a real blind spot when it comes to the needs of folks of color, and that there is a willingness to overlook the needs of those folks in an effort to make themselves feel safer. What that should mean for someone’s vote, I can’t say. But it’s important to know who each candidate is overlooking and how/why if there is any hope of holding either of them accountable.

  • User1

    With respect, while “feel safer” is true, the fact that cyclists and pedestrians will actually physically being safer is also true. There is federal data to prove that safe street designs reduce death and injury. Joe is / was surrounded by many people of color and background in his campaign. A lot of people believed in the platform that Joe pushed forward which was on so much more than just livable streets. Can he be forgiven for his abusive behavior and offensive words? Lets hope so if just for humanity’s sake. Obviously not by everyone. Can we get the people who died on Figueroa back? No.

  • Jeff Gonzales

    Regardless of anything else, throwing Twitter tantrums doesn’t seems like a thing that a public official ought to reasonably do. Last time people elected someone like that I don’t think it worked out that well either.

  • sahra

    With respect, I’m frankly really tired of people telling me I’m against safer street design. I’m even more tired of people thinking that they understand what’s at stake here when it’s so clear they don’t.

  • User1

    I did not say you were against safer street design. What I’m saying is, people are dead on this side too and people have been waiting long time for a solution. Cedillo, stared everyone down including the LACBC as people died. A lot of people want that to stop, a lot of people want Cedillo out. The question was, can you forgive an offensive bully like Joe? It’s perfectly ok to say “no”. But this is an urgent question considering the incumbent will continue to talk and ignore deaths.

  • sahra

    You’re missing the fundamental point of the story. Which is that his vision of “safety,” and a prevailing one in this community, is not as inclusive as it needs to be. You can’t protect people if you refuse to see or acknowledge their vulnerabilities.

  • User1

    “You can’t protect people if you refuse to see or acknowledge their vulnerabilities.”

    I think the issue here is the specific mission of the LACBC is not safety for “people” it is safety for “people who are cyclists” and consider that a majority of cyclists in LA are people of color and suffer the majority of death and injury. There is no question that law enforcement is a problematic tool to lead vision zero with.

    Has LACBC produced it’s own version of Vision Zero? If not, maybe the answer is for LACBC to produce it’s own road map of how cyclist deaths can be brought to zero while still considering the broader context of safety for everyone, not just cyclists? Maybe the schism is that we are not being presented with a clear vision from the LACBC on what the mission is or what it is becoming.

  • Damien Goodmon
  • Using the term “Canucks” was a play on the name of one of other two NHL teams in Canada at the time Vancouver entered the league.

  • Sharing in Caring

    Oh but you’re overlooking all the systematic oppression(s) that mean we have to pay close attention to everything Sahra says, feel extra guilty because she said so, and make no forward movement while she explains to us all why we’re very bad people and should write checks to all the organizations that want us to die or at least suffer silently while she builds a bigger platform for her tantrums.


    You are both incorrect and correct at the same time.

    White males did dominate Cycling, and thus cycling advocacy, throughout the 20th century and into the current era. They are the primary demographic and economic reason why there still exists the sport, the business, and the social ecosystem to support cycling and cycling advocacy.

    HOWEVER, livable streets advocacy, and the movement the Bray-Ali came from, was from the very start a staunchly left wing, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, class barrier crossing joyful expression of shared human interest.

    GTFO with your reductionist garbage.

  • LMAO

    Every time you get asked to show what the results of your advocacy work have been, you got nothing but personal insults and pretending to be the representative for people who you do not represent.

    Ya big phony. Do some real reporting.

  • YourNextNewsStory

    You know that I can see how hollow your whole intellectual witch hunt routine is?

  • sahra

    Just stop, Josef. You’re not nearly as clever as you think you are. If you have something of substance to say, stop your cowardly hiding behind fake avatars and come out and say it. It’s seriously pathetic.

  • sahra

    Good lord, Josef. It’s pretty clear who is throwing and it’s pretty clear it is not me.

  • sahra

    *tantrums. It’s pretty clear who is throwing tantrums.

  • sahra

    I find it hard to believe that you can’t find something more productive to do with your time than troll, Josef. But you’ve been a troll for so long, maybe you really don’t know how to be something other than angry and aggressive. Which makes me genuinely sad for you.

  • sahra

    Except the movement wasn’t that welcoming, Josef, and talking about yourself in the third person doesn’t make it so. You’re hardly left wing, for one, and even while you were building the bike movement, a trip down memory lane through your comments on LA Eastside makes it clear how much disdain you had for your poorer neighbors during that time and how much you longed for wealthier, more educated folks to move in. You can’t have it both ways… And although folks of all stripes like being on bikes and were involved in building the movement, it wasn’t that welcoming to so many of us, especially if our identities and safety needs were more multifaceted. The movement spit a lot of us out. And that persists on through today…hence all the lovely exchanges you and I have been so fortunate to share.

  • Back Pats

    This is 100% a personal fight you have taken up with someone who is willing to call you out on your own b.s. The first place you go, Sahra, is personal insults, when you’ve got no response to a serious difference of opinion on a policy. And you cheap shotted right before an election, despite knowing full well the stakes and the person you were defaming with your rant. Good grief, when you’re not busy patting yourself on the back how do you find the time to write?

  • Pfft. Whatever

    You have no shame in your pathetic game. It is never about public policy when you are wrong, it is always a “bullying” or a personality clash. No, sometimes, you have to be an adult and say “Oops, I advocated for something that didn’t work.” Which, in your case is a long list that perhaps stares you in the face while you wheel around town trying to boost yourself off the next sob story you grind out to win another journalism award. But this isn’t about journalism – this is about real change on real streets in a real city of people who live or die based on who’s in charge. And when it really counted you proved to be a cheap, low down, back stabbing, cretin. Go, run to the losing side of this issue, huddle for warmth in Cedillo and Curren Price’s office. You are a complete sellout – but not for money, lord knows, not for money. No, you’re sold out for your precious moral high ground. Backed into a corner and it’s
    I speak for POC and how dare you criticise them!” – but you don’t speak for them, and your faults are yours – and acknowledging them isn’t bullying. It’s public discourse.

    You know what is sad? You let this city down and propped your victim status up and when people continue to die and be maimed oh you’ll be there to moan about how it’s all thee poor people of color being dumped on. Pfft. Whatever.

  • Make It Personal

    Oh my God, here we go – make it personal because you know there are hordes of people out there who can pull the “You know what, I’ve lived and breathed this SH%^& for years you preachy Savior Complex tool” and it just worries you to bits. It isn’t Don, and if you were OG and were actually a part of the cycling community you claim in front of strangers maybe you’d know who User1 is. If you’d participate in anything other than your ideologically sanitized world of SJW politics you’d know who User1, and crybaby, and Borfo, and sexy, and Ma Bell, and all the rest of the folks were who helped cultivate and grow what you’ve slid right into like a warm sleeping bag that you’re now zipping up tight and rolling away in, down the bumpy road to irrelevance. Just like this blog, and just like this whole movement – which has gone quiet right when we needed to be the loadest. Which has fractured after professional advocates have hit it with their hammers in order to claim patronage for things people have been doing for free for over a decade.

  • sahra


    We banned you from our comments boards because your behavior on our boards is both unproductive and toxic. Unwilling to take the hint, you actually made the effort to find a way around that ban so you could continue to be toxic and unproductive. I am not sure whether to find that sad, creepy, or hilarious. My vote is for all three.

    You know, the funny thing is, when Hillel Aron called me for his LA Weekly story about you, I didn’t want to participate. I essentially told him that you don’t concern me. Your behavior, your aggression, your bullying, your bigotry – it’s all a symptom of a larger problem within the livable streets community, and as such, I find you wholly uninteresting and largely inconsequential.

    So, no, I’m afraid it’s not personal for me.

    But this is clearly personal for you, and it has been for years. And it all stems from your disdain for inclusion. You can protest all you want that you’re not racist and you’re not a bigot, but your repeated and aggressive insistence that it is damaging to include voices of color and others from the margins in discussions about mobility say otherwise. I don’t claim to know what’s in your heart of hearts, but I can see the power structures underlying your words very clearly. And that’s what really matters, in the end.

    That, however, is for you to reconcile on your own. I wish you the best in that endeavor.

    We will continue to ban each new IP address you reach out to us with. I will also greet any subsequent comments you make with, “Hi, Josef! This is now the Xth IP address of yours that we’ll be banning from our comment boards.” That will help make it clear to anyone who stumbles across this article just how unhealthily venomous your behavior is. You’ve already commented around a dozen times. Do you really want to keep confirming all the stories that have come out about you? That seems exhausting and inadvisable.

    All my best,


  • Finger Snaps

    This “movement” isn’t a leftist shit show, it is people finding common cause in the reworking of city streets – bigots, hippies, homeless people, lesbians, gay people, straight people, kids, old, young, rich poor.

    You purposely find ways NOT to find common cause. You purposely cut thousands of people out of your moral calculus and then talk about “inclusion” and “equity”. Oh, but whose paychecks are you cashing? It is no wonder that you cry like a child when your arguments are questioned – because you live like a child, begging mummy and daddy for treats and to have your way.

    Hack journalist can’t even blog properly on your paycheck. You substitute moral bellyaching for research and analysis. That may work in grad school but it is a failure in the public policy arena – unless your only goal is yet another paycheck. If you were going to do worthwhile work making this city measurably better for EVERYONE you’d have done something measurable by now except for awards for guilt tripping fellow Master of Arts degree holders.

  • sahra

    Hi Josef,

    This is the third IP address of yours that we’ll be banning from our comment boards.

    All my best,



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